‘Dateline’ is NBC’s signature newsmagazine, having been a staple for the investigative journalism genre ever since its premiere back in 1992. With its intense and in-depth analysis of each case that it covers, whether it is in connection to murders, or missing people, or sometimes even hard-hitting documentaries about other legal matters, it really does bring storytelling at its best.
Given how long this series been on the air, consistency is key, so, of course, its latest episode, ‘Point Blank,’ chronicling the slaying of Californian native Todd Chance, is no different. It highlights the events that led to his murder, along with the investigation that followed to get the heart of the matter. And if you’re curious to know all the details, you’ve come to the right place.
How Did Todd Chance Die?
Born on March 10, 1968, Todd Eric Chance was a native of Bakersfield, California, having spent most of his life in the city surrounded by his friends, family, and loved ones. Anyone who knew him mentioned how kind and caring he was and how, as a father, he loved spending time with his children. And since his other passion was vehicles, whether it be trucks, cars, or motorcycles, he made a career out of it, working in the trucking industry for over 15 years, until the day he suddenly and tragically died, on Sunday, August 25, 2013.
Todd’s body was found in an almond orchard on that August morning, off of Enos Lane and Noriega Road in Northwest Bakersfield, and when an autopsy was performed, it revealed that the 45-year-old was shot twice. The examiner ruled his manner of death to be a homicide, detailing how his injuries suggested that when the first shot was fired, Todd put his right palm up in a defensive manner, and the bullet whizzed through his skin and muscles to hit his right chest. The second bullet was aimed at his chest as well, fired at point-blank range.
According to the autopsy report, Todd Chance died within 10 minutes, and because the shots were from mere inches away, either wound could have been fatal.
Who Killed Todd Chance?
As the Kern County Sheriff’s Department began the investigations for this homicide case, the first thing they noticed were tire tracks near Todd’s body. And when they retraced his steps, they found out that he had left his apartment, in his car, with an adult female beside him, between 7:30 and 8:00 a.m. on the day he died. It was his car that had made the markings, but it was nowhere to be found nearby. Later that same day, the police discovered it a bit further away, abandoned, unlocked, and with a revolver – later identified to be the murder weapon – on the floorboard. It belonged to Todd and his wife of 17 years, Leslie Jenea Chance.
A woman who looked a lot like Leslie was then seen on surveillance footage leaving the area where the vehicle was recovered from. She was spotted on several cameras throughout the town that day, determining that, in between changing locations, she also changed her clothes and discarded the items she was carrying. In the end, that same woman used a payphone to call for a cab, which dropped her off near the Chance residence. With all that, on August 29, 2013, four days after the incident, the police charged and arrested Leslie Chance for suspicion of the murder of her husband, with the theory that she was after insurance money.
Leslie was released from booking a day before she was to appear in court as the District Attorney’s office sent the case back to the Sheriff’s Office for further review. During that time, more information about the couple’s troubled finances, mistakes made in the first probe, and the fact that Todd was sharing flirtatious messages and having an affair with his former girlfriend, Carrie Williams, was revealed. But as she was out of town on the day he died, Leslie remained the prime suspect, with her motives now being financial as well as emotional. Therefore, three years later, she was arrested once again, charged with first-degree murder.
Subsequently, the District Attorney’s office announced that they would prosecute the case, and in September 2020, Leslie Jenea Chance was found guilty of murdering Todd Chance.
Read More: Where Is Leslie Jenea Chance Now?